It's the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, that's right: this week the Government published The Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement 2024-25.
The Local Government Association (LGA) which represents Councils and Councillors published an on-the-day briefing summarising the key announcements.
TL:DR - its not going to be enough for many Councils who will remain under enormous pressure.
We're crunching the numbers of the impact here in Folkestone & Hythe, and we will use that to update or budget forecasts in the New Year. Our initial reaction is that actually we thought it might be worse for us. We planned for the worst, and its not quite that for Folkestone and Hythe as far as we can see.
But as Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Helen Morgan MP (pictured above, I know you were wondering) said:
“For years this Conservative Government slashed local budgets, overseeing brutal cuts to vital services. They have pushed local government to a cliff edge and ministers are scrambling at the last minute to avoid yet more bankruptcies.
“This funding may not even be enough to keep local authorities afloat, and will do nothing to plug the gap in our social care sector, which is already caught in the grip of a generational crisis.”
Some Key points from the LGA and the LGA Liberal Democrat Group
This Government have pretty much broken many Councils ability to operate. Its going to take new support, probably from a new Government, to start to turn that around. Many, like Kent County Council, remain in desperate trouble.
That's it: final diary for 2023 published - I'll give you all a well deserved week off next vweek. See you in 2024: have a great Christmas (and, er, don't forget that your bin collection times change over the holiday fortnight).